Tunisian court acquits former Libyan PM
South African President Jacob Zuma (L) is greeted by former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi upon his arrival in Tripoli on May 30, 2011 (file photo)
Islam Times - A Tunisian court has acquitted former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi on a charge of illegally crossing into Tunisia following the collapse of slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
"The court... has acquitted Mahmudi and so we are demanding his immediate release," the ex-premier’s lawyer, Mabrouk Kourchid, said on Tuesday after the hearing in the southern city of Tozeur.
"There is no legal reason to keep him in prison," he said. "(Mahmudi) should be released because his detention is illegal and the reasons are purely political."
However, the Tunisian government did not say whether it would free the 70-year-old former prime minister, who has been in detention in the country since his arrest in September 2011 on the southwestern border with Algeria.
Mahmudi is also the subject of two extradition requests from Libya on charges of inciting rape in the town of Zuwarah in northwestern Libya during the anti-Gaddafi revolution.
He is trying to avoid extradition on the grounds that he has applied for refugee status in Tunisia and could face execution if he is returned to his homeland.
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